This past Sunday, we focused on what it means to pray that God’s Kingdom would come and His will would be done in our lives. Yesterday I shared a concentric circle approach to cover a variety of areas in our lives with prayer. The first part of that circle is our own lives. I do not mean to imply that we are the center of concern; instead, it is an acknowledgment that we have authority over only one thing…our own heart, soul, mind, and strength. When Jesus was asked to identify the greatest commandment, He replies:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” – Luke 10:27 (NIV)
He commands us to LOVE God with four aspects of our lives and to do so entirely. The assumption is that we can do so. God does not command the impossible, ever. However, implicit in this command is the potential that we may also choose not to love God with ALL of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Think about that for a moment. The potential exists in which we may love God with our mind but not our heart. Or we may choose to only love with half our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The command is to love with the FULL FOUR.
When we pray that God’s Kingdom will come and His will be done, we are not only asking for that to be true in our world but also to be true IN us. We are making a request of God in this prayer. Remember that this prayer is a daily prayer. I can go a day without eating (although my stomach would undoubtedly complain about it). I cannot and should never go a day without praying for God to assume His rightful position as King of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. A day like that is a day wasted.
A helpful passage that brings focus for this part of the prayer is found in Psalm 51
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV)
On Sunday, I shared that God desired to create a kingdom of people who would love Him and through the prophet, Ezekiel promises the following:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NIV)
Do you see how God’s promise in Ezekiel is an answer to the prayer that King David prays in Psalm 51? We need God to do this in us before God can do anything through us. As you pray today, ask for Psalm 51 and be open for God to do what He promised in Ezekiel 36.
I find that God connects with me through the spoken word but also the power of music. Below is a video of one of the first “Christian” rock musicians I ever heard. Keith Green was for the Christian community a type of Billy Joel or Elton John was to the rest of the world. It is an old song but still a good one.